A few weeks ago, I gave a lecture on The Great Depression and World War II at an Institute for Humane Studies “Liberty & Society” Summer Seminar. It’s a lecture I’ve given a few times at IHS seminars (and here’s an article based on a lecture I gave a few years ago) but I revised it substantially. In this case, I relied heavily on some of the essays in Robert Higgs’ Neither Liberty Nor Safety: Fear, Ideology, and the Growth of Government.
Considering the root causes of the Depression and World War II brought be back, though, to the first book I ever read on my iPad: Ralph Raico’s incredible Great Wars & Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal. I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about it before, but even if I have it’s worth repeating. Raico’s book is a useful corrective to most of the treatments of war with which you are likely familiar. You will come away from the book, as I did, with a much more sophisticated understanding of war. I read it before I read Timothy Snyder’s excellent Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, and I know I read Snyder differently because I read Raico first.
*An anecdote: In my experience, Professor Raico is a gentleman’s gentleman. He spoke to a group called the Discussion Club in Saint Louis when I was a third- or fourth-year graduate student. My wife and I attended and had the pleasure of sharing a table with him. We were pretty young at the time and probably not far removed from our first anniversary, and yet he addressed my wife Shannon as “Mrs. Carden.” It made quite an impression on me; he set a standard for conduct in polite society to which I aspire.